Miracles happen. I’ve seen prayers answered, inexplicably and incontrovertibly. The little kid healed from cancer. Groceries materializing on the doorstep of an out-of-work mother and her three hungry kids. Footsteps in a hallway that stopped my friend’s abusive husband from following through on his threat to kill her.
And yet, when I became Catholic, and a good friend suggested that I “tell Mary about it” the next time I felt lonely, or scared, or overwhelmed, to be honest I thought it sounded a little kooky. Why would I do such a thing?
But then I did. At first a trifle apologetically … “Oh, God, please don’t let anything happen that I could misconstrue as an answer if I shouldn’t be doing this…” Then puzzled, “God, why would you allow such a thing?” Then, finally, with conviction, “OK, Mary, I’d like someone to sit with me in church again today, if you can manage it.”
Three weeks in a row, the same request. Three weeks in a row, a different stranger appeared. And, like a child, I found myself being drawn to the protective skirts of the Blessed Mother. As the years passed and I became a mother myself, I felt that protective mantle draw over me again and again … And, through those children, I began to understand that God sometimes works in ways we never expected. Frankly, He sometimes answers not because of our prayers, but despite them.
Behold Your Mother is the fruit of this gradual awakening – first drawing from my own experiences, then enlarging on the titles that have been attributed to Mary by Christians through the centuries. “Star of the Sea,” “Seat of Wisdom,” “Mother of God.”
But to me, she will always be “the one who never lets her children sit alone in church.”
Heidi Hess Saxton is the author of Behold Your Mother: Mary Stories and Reflections of a Catholic Convert and adoptive parent columnist at CatholicExchange.com and CatholicMom.com. To order her book, go to http://www.christianword.com.